Sacramento Plans for Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

The city wants to install a network of more than 3,000 charging stations, with a focus on underserved communities.

2 minute read

August 9, 2021, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Electric Vehicle Charging

MikesPhotos / Pixabay

"By 2025, the city of Sacramento wants 75,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road, according to a city plan adopted in 2017," writes Isabella Bloom. "It estimates it needs 3,800 charging stations to support that kind of fleet. As of 2020, the city had installed fewer than 700 charging stations," most in dense areas near government offices and freeways. Meanwhile, rural areas and "zip codes with higher percentages of non-white residents" have the fewest charging stations. 

Gil Tal, the director of the Plug-in Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Research Center at the University of California, Davis, urges prioritizing these areas. "Disadvantaged communities many times suffer from bad air quality because they are next to traffic routes or next to industry or just less desirable locations," says Tal. "Electrifying these areas are, I think, higher priority, not just because of greenhouse gases, but also because of local air pollution."

While most electric vehicle owners rely on charging their cars at home, "many low-to-moderate-income people who live in apartments or affordable housing may find installing and accessing charging infrastructure is more complicated." Encouraging more widespread EV use in these communities means providing ready access to chargers for residents of multi-unit buildings. "The city recently received a $1.8 million grant from the California Energy Commission that will allow it to provide Level 2 chargers at 13 community centers and libraries, primarily in low-income neighborhoods, including Coloma and Colonial Heights." Sacramento has also introduced an electric car sharing program "to introduce more electric cars and stations to low-income neighborhoods" and passed an ordinance that "will require new nonresidential and multifamily developments to include electric vehicle infrastructure."

Statewide, "[t]he California Energy Commission estimates the state needs 1.2 million public and shared private chargers by 2030 to support the number of electric vehicles expected to be on the road by then."

Friday, August 6, 2021 in Sacramento Bee

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